Heartbreaking 9th Sends Phils to 3-1 Series Deficit

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, November 02, 2009 01:19 AM | Comments: 343
2009 Recaps, Posts, World Series 2009

This one is hard to write.

As the Phillies now sit on the brink of elimination – the season truly hanging in the balance – there are several what-if’s to look back on that occur throughout an at bat, a game, and even a series.  There were many throughout this gut-wrenching Game 4 loss that now has the Phillies in a 3-1 series hole.

What if Brad Lidge throws Johnny Damon a 3-2 slider after two consecutive foul balls on fastballs?  What if Lidge or Carlos Ruiz cover third as the rest of the Phils infield was in a shift?  What if – before this game even starts – Charlie Manuel tabs Cliff Lee to start this game?

All of those what-ifs are completely moot as the Yankees demolished any sort of hope the Phillies had of regaining momentum in this series by winning 7-4.

In the eighth inning, with the Phillies trailing 4-3, Pedro Feliz gave hope that this would again be the series everyone thought before it began by hitting a solo home run off of Joba Chamberlain.  With a tie game going into the ninth, and spirits high, the old Brad Lidge struck again.

Damon would come to the plate in that ninth inning following two quick outs; a pop out by Hideki Matsui and a strikeout by Derek Jeter.  Lidge found himself up in the count 1-2, but Damon waited out two pitches that were overthrown by the Phils closer, and the count was 3-2.  The Yankees left fielder then fouled off two pitches into the seats before finally catching up to a 94-m.p.h. four-seamer that dropped into left for a base hit.

Mark Teixeira came to the plate, and the shift was on for the Phillies defense.  Damon capitalized by stealing second base, then taking third after Lidge and Ruiz failed to cover the base.  Teixiera reached base after being plunked by Lidge and Alex Rodriguez stepped up in a most crucial position.

Rodriguez jumped on an 0-1 fastball and bounced it off the left field fence to score Damon.  The Feliz home run became a distant memory.

Jorge Posada followed that up with a two-run single of his own, and was thrown out at second base, although the damage was more than evident.  The Yankees took a 7-4 lead, and just like that, there was no air left to breathe.

The greatest closer of all-time, Mariano Rivera, came in to finish things off in the ninth inning as he has done so many times before.  Three straight putouts by Teixeira at first base ended things for the Phillies late on Sunday night, and possibly for the 2009 season.

Lost in the crushing defeat was the ballsy effort put forth by Joe Blanton.  Big Joe went six innings, giving up four earned runs while striking out seven batters.  He was not unhittable by any means, however, he kept them in the game, which is all you could ask for.  Chase Utley continued his domination of CC Sabathia, but in the end his solo home run was not enough.

Lidge’s meltdown is another perplexing reminder of just how quickly things can go south.  One day ago, we saw the same sort of disintegration from Cole Hamles.  The two darlings of the 2008 postseason have proven to be two of the Phillies Achillies Heels this year.

It’s not over, but it sure is close.  The Phillies pride themselves on being a resilient club, but games like these are daggers.  Do they have a three-game winning streak left in them?  The comeback begins tonight at 7:57.

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About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1714 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

  • Posts: 0 Brian of CO

    I meant to finish with I personally would have not had Lidge on the post season roster, HOWEVER, there was no other choice, and he has pitched rather brilliantly the rest of the post season, he just got flustered at the wrong time, and pulled a Queen Cole by not buckling down after allowing the baserunner, then the first score, but to continue and allow 3 ER’s that inning.

  • Posts: 0 Mike D.

    Whatever happens tonight, Harry would be proud of this team for everything they’ve done up to this point. And lest we forget, the Yankees of the late Nineties didn’t even make the World Series in ’97 before winning three straight from ’98 to ’00, and then came one inning away from a fourth in 2001.

    With all that said, if Hamels doesn’t come back next year with a) a better curve ball, b) a better work ethic, and c) a better attitude, I would trade him. Even if we get to Game 7, does anyone here trust Hamels to win it?

  • Posts: 0 Brian of CO

    I was jokingly saying after we picked up Lee we should have changed the trade offer for Halladay to include Hamels instead of Happ, now maybe it wasnt such a joke. LOL. I wish I knew what happened to Hamels this season, but ouch. Would having Lee and Halladay instead of Hamels change the outcome of the entire series? Not so sure, but it probably would have changed the outcome in game 3 at the very least, which MIGHT have changed things, but we didnt get him, we are stuck with Hamels, in hopes that returns to his 08 splender, but Im not sure it will happen without those things stated by MikeD happens.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff of Nova

    First of all,

    Manuel should get the Jeltz.

    He set them up for failure, by not getting, by having them overshift on Tex, not getting them out there and rallying the troups when Tex was up.

    Players coach or not, he was not good last night.

    If he knows his players, he very well knows that when Lidge gets a man on he is a different pitcher, go talk to him, Posada and the Yanks did it all in the 7th and 8th.

    Did you really want to win? Didn’t show it very well Cholly

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Brian – so i’m guessing was your turn to tend to Jr and you couldn’t resist a comment. Right now I am just praying for a game seven. We can’t go down 4-1…not after this amazing post season. I am glad to be back in the WS of course but man the timing is bad to meet up with the Yankees esp. with Hair Product Hamels and Lidge with off years….One of the reasons i felt confident was that the Angels and Twins crapped the bed and we don’t make mistakes like that in high stake stituations. The Utley error (don’t get me wrong he’s played well this series) was like a dagger in the eye and the Damon play ugh…no need to shift in that stituation but somebody forgot to cover 3rd…rookie mistake. I still feel like this 3 day rotation thing could work to our advantage if the players you mentioned can get it going. CC still did look great, a few bad breaks on well hit balls and some dreadful 3-1, 3-2 swings were the difference. Props to Blanton…one of this season’s unsung ones. Just another pitcher crapped on by an inconsistent offense

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Brian – that’s “CC still didn’t look great…”

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    One tihing that pissed me off is that Manuel should have talked to the umps about all the mound visits and game delays or at least had us do the same thing to them. Credit the Yanks, they schooled us in gamesmanship last night in our own house.

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    Look it’s plain and simple. The 2009 Philadelphia Phillies have thus far lost this series. Not Brad Lidge. Not Ryan Howard. Not Raul Ibanez. Not Charlie Manuel. Win as a team, and lose as a team. The Yankees have played better when they needed too. Simple as that. They are not beating the Phillies, the Phillies are beating themselves with a lack of situational and timely hitting. The Phillies could have easily won game’s 2 and 4 if their offenses had shown up. But they didn’t. They could have won game 3 if their pitching had shown up. But it didn’t. Some of the guys that got us to this point have so far failed to show up. It happens. The Yankees just seem to want it more. Good for them. They can buy all the talent in the world, and that’s fine. Baseball allows for it. But just suppose baseball did infact have a salary cap, what would the cut off point be? Would the Phillies have even been able to take on Cliff Lee’s salary? Maybe. Maybe not. I have absolutely no problem at all with what the Yankees do. Think about it, you know going into the year that all the Yankees care about is winning it all and they will do whatever it takes, spend whatever they have to, to win. How can you not be happy with that? If the Phillies had that mentality and means I would be thrilled. Not so say I am not. I am fine with the way the handle their things. But it actually bugs me when people bring up the buying talent thing. The Eagles, Flyers and Sixers all work within a salary cap, how is that working for them?

    Also, Joe Blanton did a fine job. He gave his team a chance to win. Sure you could have started Cliff Lee, and maybe he got them a win, but then who starts today? Blanton, suppose they lose? Then they are exactly where they may be if Lee wins them the game tonight. Down 3-2 going into NY. Not like Sabathia handled the Phillies, he didn’t. We had our chances and didn’t capitalize. So be it. The problem is, as it has been for the better part of the year. The Phillies don’t have enough quality starters. During the season and in the first two rounds of the playoffs their bat’s covered up their glaring weaknesses. This series they have not.

    Obviously I want the Phillies to win the World Series again, but if they don’t I certainly am not going to abandon them and say we need to trade Hamels and Lidge needs to be run out of town. Get serious people. Winning can spoil people and in sometimes prevent them from seeing the reality of the situation. This is a good Phillies team that is one or two pieces away from being great. Don’t lose sight of that amongst your anger, disappointment and sadness. There are fans of 28 other teams that would kill to be having the discussion we all currently are.

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    I agree J-Reed. The Yankees being able to control the temp of the game the way they did last night was ridiculous. Again, they did what the game allowed for. Charlie either should have complained or done it himself. Charlie is very much content with not causing a fuss and most of the time I am ok with it, but on the few times that he should get in there and get his hands dirty, he doesn’t do it. And that is frustrating. But Charlie is who he is. So be it.

  • Posts: 0 DennyStu

    Don’t lose faith. The Phils need a 3 game winning streak. They’ve always been a team that goes on hitting streaks and they need to wake up the bats. A team that typically make the timely hits has not done that in this series so far. 8 homers with no runners on base makes them look a lot like the dodgers in the last series. But this is why it’s a 7 game series and the old “play one game at a time” cliche is appropriate. Tonight Lee needs to pitch a decent game but more importantly the Phils bats need to wake up to give a chance for Martinez. If we do what needs to be done tonight, the team really needs to give Pedro some run support (which they haven’t done in the post season). So stay die hard Phillies Phans.

  • Posts: 0 cleo

    just glad to see the phillies lose new york rocks lets go mets

  • Posts: 0 Bobby in Boston

    I’m a huge Ruiz fan, but I have serious issues with the pitches he allowed Lidge to throw in the 9th last night and Hamels in the 4th and 5th the night before. That said, the damn Yankees got the job done, fouling off good pitches and squeezing out hits. Phils took some weak swings at pitches late in the game, which is not like them.

    Am I the only one who thinks Ultey had a shot at making the right hand flip for the force out at 2nd base in the 5th? He made a great stop and did the high-risk glove flip. Badda-boom, badda-bing, two runs eventually scored. Didn’t like that play at all.

    I’m reading some columnists saying Phils should have started Lee last night. This is complete and total BS. You can’t pitch the guy every night. If we had done that, we’d still have Blanton going tonight. The thing is, CC wasn’t all that sharp on his short rest and Phillies hitters just didn’t take advantage. It was mostly about hitting solo home runs.

    Sick feeling this morning, but this one is a long way from over. Lee gives us a great chance of sending this back to New York for Game 6. Unless Girardi shifts things, we’ll get Burnett on short rest and then Pedro against Pettitte on short rest. Then, assuming we make it Game 7 (Cholly has to start Happ, right?), we get Sabathia on short rest. Plus, the longer the series goes, the more hittable Rivera gets.

    Our backs are against the wall, but in other ways, things could really play in our favor. But the Phillies need to play a better and smarter to pull it off.

    Go Phils!

  • Posts: 0 ByeByeFrillies

    You should thank Lidge. He was just making sure Phillies fans didn’t have a chance to destroy the city after winning. Freakin animals…

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    The one and only argument for starting Lee last night was with the hopes of using him again in game 7 if it gets to that. That is about it. Blanton did a fine job last night. They didn’t lose because Lee did not pitch last night.

  • Posts: 0 Paul F

    well, The Phils scored 4 runs last night. Lee probably would’ve given up less than that.

  • Posts: 0 Bobby in Boston

    You make a fair point, Ed R. But people who make the Lee-over-Blanton argument as an explanation for last night’s loss are totally not seeing what actually what went right (Blanton) and what went wrong (low RISP and Brad Lidge) last night. Except for a couple of costly walks, Joe the Pitcher was everything we could have asked for. I just say that If we can extend this series, the decision to give our pitchers full rest (as opposed to theirs) will look better and better. But we still have to execute. And Lidge has to bounce back.

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    If by the grace of God this series can make it to game 7, I start Happ and I have everyone available in the pen. Including Hamels.

    Lee can win it today, though he has to deal with some serious Yankee momentum. Give Pedro the ball in game 6 and I guarantee he will finish what he starts. Maybe not throw a CG but the Yanks will be in trouble and then game 7 and its C.C vs whoever we start.

    The Phillies can do it, it’s as uphill as it gets, but they can do it. And if they can’t then I look forward to the Hot Stove talk. This season is a success whether they win or lose.

  • Posts: 0 Pizza Bagel

    Yes, a crushing defeat thanks to Mr. Mole. But we are not dead yet.
    Remember fellow Phillies fans, the most dangerous player in a game is he who is backed against a wall and has nothing to lose.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Very well said Ed R.

  • Posts: 0 cas

    To Rayfan: No one cares about Tampa. Even TAMPA doesn’t care about Tampa.
    To byebyefrillies: We had very little in the way of “incidents” after our win last year. A few stores had broken windows. How about the celebrations in other cities (especially Detroit) where cars get turned over and burned and they end up with more or less rioting in the streets?

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Ed R. – Just getting to game 6 and I’ll be happy. What hurts the most right now isn’t so much that the offense sputtered but the sloppy, unintelligent baseball we’ve played so far… when Damon took third (heads up on his part) that was so amateur hour on our part.

  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    I predicted and bet at the beginning of this series that my Yanks would do this in 5, and so far everything has happened the way I thought it would. Why people thought that this would be a great series or that the Phillies could even win is beyond me. The Phillies are gritty, gutty, determined etc. I know, but the bottomline is the Yanks have a better lineup, better starting pitching and a better bullpen. While I would much rather have them celebrate in the new Yankee stadium, for the puposes of my bet, we get to Cliff Lee tonight and end this thing.

  • Posts: 0 RiVLez

    what is “The Feliz home run because distant memory”? HAHA

  • Posts: 0 Ed R.

    I agree j-reed, that is what has been so frustrating about this series. Like I said before, the Yankees have not been beating the Phillies. Statistically the Yanks are not doing anything special but they are getting it done when it matters. Damon taking third because no one was covering was just another example of smart baseball. Something the Phillies used to do all the time and suddenly can’t seem to even be in the position to do so. Hopefully it all changes today.

  • Posts: 0 Blue Cheese Steak

    Just thought I’d stop by to say hello, since so many of you were thoughtful enough to share your thoughts with us on Dodger blogs last month. Here in L.A. we are enjoying this series immensely. What great fans and what a great bull pen you have! And I’d like to give a special shout-out to Davey Lopes–refusing to pose for a photo with your former Dodger teammates was class all the way, buddy. Savor every minute today, because, well, it might be your last day as world champions. Excuse me, I have to go find a box of Kleenex to dry my tears.

  • Posts: 0 RiVLez

    Ed R. it will all change today. The Yankees will win and the Phillies roster will get shaken up in the off season.

  • Posts: 0 Andrew

    The Phillies took Game 1 … the Skankees won 3 straight … time for a momentum shift Phellas, and take the next 3.

  • Posts: 0 RiVLez

    Skankees is definitely not as good as Philthies

  • Posts: 0 Phills fan

    I think Ruiz deserves the Jeltz.

    1. He is calling the game. Lidge best pitch is his slider. Ruiz has Lidge throw 3 straight fastballs that Damon gets a hit on.

    2. Asked at the presser who is to cover 3rd, Manuel says the catcher.

    3. A-Rod hasn’t come close to hitting anyting off speed or breaking so what does Ruiz call for…. 2 fastballs and we all know what happened.

    If not Ruiz miss mangement of those batters things might have turned out better. There were other canidates for the award as well. Manuel for bring in Lidge when the game is tied. Never bring in Lidge when the game is tied or down a run or two. Nothing good ever happens. Also when the game was tied 2-2 what was up with Utley and that glove flip. Take your time and just get the force out. Don’t try and make a spectacular play and get nothing. Hopefully we win tonight but it looks like the evil empire is going to get another title.

  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    These arguments that people are making are ridiculous.

    “The momentum of the series was changed with the camera homerun call.”

    “The Yankees are the best team money can buy.”

    This World Series has come down to pitching and timely hitting just like every other series between two pretty evenly matched teams though the Yankees are better in my opinion. Better starting pitching and a deeper lineup. Rollins, Victorino, Utley and Howard are not as good as Jeter, Damon, Teixeira and ARod. Sabathia, Burnett and Pettitte are better than Cliff Lee and the garbage you throw out there after Lee. I respect the Phillies because they play hard and are confident, but they are a flawed baseball team. The Angels were a tougher matchup than the Phillies.

  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    The Pbillies have crappy starting pitching, a crappy bullpen and not one .300 hitter in their lineup. They are an extremely flawed team.

  • Posts: 0 RiVLez

    Oh yeah, this isn’t the Tampa Bay Rays the Phillies are playing. I wish the Phillies played the Red Sox last WS. Red Sox would’ve taught you guys a lesson.

  • Posts: 0 Bob

    They brought in a Pitcher named Lidge,
    now his fans want to jump off a bridge.
    His team paid the price, and he put them on ice,
    ’cause his arm is as cold as a ‘Fridge.

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Maybe the Red Sox could have taught us a lesson if they had beaten the Rays….come on Mets troll you can do better than that…

    Burnett and Petite are better than Cliff Lee….seriously are you twelve years old…

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Bob – now that’s funny.

  • Posts: 0 Amazinsux

    Blue Cheese Steak; Thanks for stopping by….. YOU LOSER! After two straight years of the Phillies beating LA like a dog, glad to see you take such joy in watching a team do what the Dodgers couldn’t do (or NEVER will do!) Crawl back under your hollywood rock, you slug!

  • Posts: 0 joedad

    I found this on bronxbabybombers.com:

    Pettitte and Burnett on short rest:

    Burnett – 4 G, 4-0 record, 2.33 ERA, 27 IP, 19 H, 2 HR, 10 BB, 24 K’s, 1.07 WHIP.
    Pettitte – 14 G, 4-6 record, 4.15 ERA, 86.2 IP, 86 H, 6 HR, 38 BB, 69 K’s, 1.43 WHIP

    If Lee can pitch out of his mind again tonight, we can get to Pettitte in game 6 and who knows what is possible then.

    High hopes fellas.

  • Posts: 0 The Original Chuck P

    It was a gut wrenching loss… the type of loss that makes you say “If only we had…” Truth be told, we have wasted some decent pitching performances and squandered opportunities throughout this series…


    I think that it would be foolish to count this team out. This team is not going to quit. As the adversity grows, this team gets better.

    Cliff Lee is going to give you a decent performance tonight… after that, it’s Pedro on the big stage against Pettitte on short rest (something he has never done) and then CC on short rest for game 7 and this team is not afraid of CC. I know that you’ve gotta take it one game at a time but you have to think that the matchups are now in our favor… part of the reason more teams don’t go with a 3 man rotation is because you end up with poor matchups in games 5 and 6. These next two games are winnable…

    The Phillies have won three games in a row on 14 separate occasions this season… don’t lose Phaith.

  • Posts: 0 Scott in D.C.

    I’m pulling a Joe Torre tonight and seeing Bruce Springsteen. I’ve got no phight left in me. … To all the Yankees trolls in here — you can choke on that trophy. While you’re it, take your loser, can’t-beat-Mike-Huckabee ex-mayor and that talentless starf*cking bimbo Kate Hudson and go back to that overprivileged little island that nearly ruined the world economy and is currently ruining baseball.

    Wave your hands all you want, the Yankees are a bought team. They don’t cultivate talent; they cherry-pick it. It’s a major dysfunction of the league right now, and it starts at the top with Bud Sleazy.

  • Posts: 0 Realistic

    What if Ryan Howard was actually called out at home and all your points are moot?

  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Joedad – in what time frame…and at what point in Burnett’s career. He’s 32 and been on DL for alot of his carreer. That tells me nothing.

  • Posts: 0 joedad

    j reed, not sure. i was looking for pettitte’s record on short rest. His record and stats are worse than on normal rest while Burnett’s are better than on his normal rest, but a much smaller sample. My guess is that Burnett’s was years ago.

  • Posts: 0 Jeff G.

    Here is the bottom line. Charlie Manuel helped lose this series by not doing what the Yankees did. Put Lee out there on three days rest. He is a crafty starter and would of been fine. He saved him for a worthless game. The Yankees have hitters that are clutch. We do not. When Rollins and Vic got on base with no outs, we didnt get a single hit with our big guys. The Yankees do. Howard was horrible in this series. There bullpen is much better with MO. There three starters on three days rest are much better then hamels, blanton. Charlie has no idea how to rotate his pen. Get rid of Hamels, tired of his crap. He does not have the mental game to play here. Get rid of blanton, lidge, and feliz. I know feliz did alright last night. We need a new third baseman. Bring up Drabek, use happ. What a disgrace that happ did not get a start. Ibanez looks lost. Give credit to the yankees for making us pay when they had too.

  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Don’t ask me how… but somehow I still believe. I still have faith in this team. I know we’re down 3-1 but we are the fightin phils, we don’t give up, it’s simply not in our DNA.

  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    The Tampa Bay Rays were a VERY good team last year….worthy of being in the WS. I mean, how long were they in first place last year in the AL East? Oh yeah, that’s right. MOST of the freaking season……where have the Red Sox been the last two years?? Nuff said.


    Ed R. ……

    GREAT post at 8:40. Everybody on here should read it if they haven’t already….

    “There are fans of 28 other teams that would kill to be having the discussion that we all currently are.”….

    Put this all into perspective people…..would you rather be a fan of any of those teams right now.??


    Go Phillies!!!!!……As a VERY famous Yankee once said.., “It’s not over til it’s over.”

  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    ScottinDC – Another baseball “fan” who knows nothing about the game. Jeter, Rivera, Pettitte, Posada, Chamberlain, Melky, Cano, Hughes, Coke and Gardner are all fam system guys. Burnett, Sabathia, Arod and Damon are not. The whole your team is bought argument is idiotic at best.

    Also, a lot of Cole Hamels hate. Wasn’t he your best pitcher last year and the World Series MVP? Cole Hamels should be untouchable in Philly, but he’s not because Philly is a terible sports town. Rollins said it. Donovan knows it.

  • Posts: 0 Tom

    Let it be known that this is the end of Brad Lidge’s Phillies career. November 1st, 2009.

  • Posts: 0 3peatbeginsnow

    I can tell you all that it’s done and there is no need to believe. You ae playing the team that won 103 games this yea and was easily the best team in baseball. The 3peat begins right now.

  • Posts: 0 JRoll new prediction

    Yankees in 5 — the phillies decided to be really really nice

  • Posts: 0 joedad

    j reed, I did my own fact checking…Burnett’s stats on short rest I listed above are bogus. He started once on 3 days rest after a regular start, in 2004 against the D-Rays. The other time was after he had a 1 inning relief appearance in 2008, the others were in relief. Sloppy work by bronxbabybombers.com

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